The first European Union (EU) doctors disciplined in the UK for their failure to speak English properly have been revealed.
One doctor from Poland has failed speaking, listening, reading and writing tests on three separate occasions, but has nevertheless been allowed to continue working, despite being labeled a potential risk to patients because of his broken English.
Dr. Tomasz Fryzlewicz, 56, a heart doctor, moved to Britain from Poland in 2006. He worked as a locum in several hospitals such as North Staffordshire’s Royal Stoke University Hospital, reports the Stoke Sentinel.
It was only in 2014, eight years after he started working in the UK, that he sat the language exam for the first time. This followed the introduction of the new rules allowing doctors to be forced to take English language tests if there are concerns about their abilities on that front.
At the same time as he was failing his English tests he was sacked by two different hospitals concerned about his language skills. He was then offered a post in cardiology at the John Radcliffe Hospital in Oxford which was later withdrawn after he sent emails in broken English.
It has been ordered that Dr. Fryzlewicz must now work under direct supervision for a year and must pass an English language assessment within 12 months.
It is reported that Dr. Fryzlewicz denies any wrongdoing and has claimed his English tests results were “too low and not accurate” and had been “manipulated” by the GMC.
In 2012 Dr. Alessandro Teppa, an Italian medic who qualified in 1998 in his home country, was granted a licence to practise in the UK. In 2014 he failed an English language assessment and was put under an interim suspension order, reports the BBC.
The Medical Practitioners Tribunal Service (MPTS) has ruled that Dr. Teppa’s suspension is due to last at least nine months as his standard of English is currently “insufficient to support safe and effective medical practice in this country”.
The Chief Executive of the General Medical Council supported the decision, saying: “This doctor should not be able to practise in the UK again until he can demonstrate he is able to communicate effectively.”
For his part Dr. Teppa is now taking English language lessons in Italy pending a review of his ability to communicate at the end of his suspension.
Following a change of rules in 2014 which allowed EU doctors’ language skills to be tested for the first time, the risks of relying on foreign doctors are coming to light. The new rules were introduced as a result of the Daniel Ubani case, reports The Daily Telegraph. He was a Nigerian doctor who came to Britain from Germany and injected a patient with a lethal morphine dose on his first shift.
It has become a standard defence of mass-migration to the UK that the National Health Service would grind to a halt were it not for foreign medical workers. A few years ago David Cameron addressed the subject in a speech on immigration:
“Our country has benefited immeasurably from immigration. If you go into any hospital you’ll find people from Uganda, India and Pakistan who are caring for our sick and vulnerable.”
It is now estimated that around one in five of the 34,000 new NHS nurses joining each year are from overseas, particularly the Philippines, Spain and Portugal. This prompted former Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg to say the NHS would be “in serious trouble” if a cap on the number of EU migrants to the UK was introduced.